The coalition of four opposition parties popularly known as Ukawa has endorsed former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa as its presidential candidate in the October General Election.
The parties – Chadema, Civic United Front, NCCR-Mageuzi and National League for Democracy – also endorsed former Zanzibar Deputy Minister for Health Juma Duni Haji as presidential running mate.
Lowassa and Haji were endorsed through open ballot during Chadema’s National Convention held in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
Addressing the convention, the two candidates promised to conduct peaceful campaigns and called upon the government to refrain from using undue force and to allow the people to exercise their democratic right and vote for the candidate of their choice.
Chadema National Chairman Freeman Mbowe said that the country has for a long time now being demanding social, economic and political change and this year’s elections gives them the opportunity to achieve the change.
“We of Ukawa have agreed to file a single presidential candidate whose name has been approved,” he said.
“We believe that all what is happening is God’s plans and miracles thus we need everyone blessed with power from God to join our movement,” Mbowe urged.
‘The national dream for change will not be realised if we will not unite as one,’ he warned.
He encouraged supporters of Ukawa to be willing to sacrifice to accomplish the dream that they have been struggling to attain for 25 years now.
Mbowe said Chadema has no reason to reject people who cross over from their political parties to Chadema rather, on the contrary, he said Chadema welcomes but urged those joining Chadema to leave all the ‘bad attributes’ from their previous parties.
Mbowe explained that the general council recommended Lowassa and Haji Duni to be Ukawa’s flag bearers for the General election and the Zanzibar Second Vice President Seif Sharifu Hamad as presidential candidate.
NCCR-Mageuzi National Chairman James Mbatia called upon Ukawa to join efforts with one aim, removing CCM from power.
“CCM has been exploiting the public for many years…to remove them, we must join our forces in and I call upon my fellow Tanzanians to make the right decision,” he urged. “We don’t have time for bloodshed, we believe in peace, we will win this election,” he said.
Mbatia went on to reassure investors that when the opposition leads the country they will not lose their investments rather, they will enjoy a more fair and conducive work environment.
Zanzibar’s First Vice President Seif Sharif Hamad who is going to vie for Presidency in Zanzibar through opposition Civil United Front (CUF) encouraged more officials from the ruling party to join opposition because; ‘joining the opposition side is not a sin,’ he said.
“In Ukawa, there is enough human resource to run the country and bring development without any problem, people should not fear,” he said.
Responding on rumors that the CUF Chairman Prof Ibrahim Lipumba has seceded from the party, he discredited them as unfounded and untrue.
“The law requires any leader who wants to resign from the party to write a letter to the party’s secretary general, we have not received any such letter from Lipumba,” he said.
NLD National Chairman Dr Emmanuel Makaidi commended all new members who have joined Chadema calling upon others to follow suit. He applauded Former Premier Lowassa saying he has transformed many people who worked with him.
In his speech, Lowassa’s running mate former Zanzibar Deputy Minister for Health Juma Duni Haji admitted that it was a tough decision to resign from his post but maintained that it was necessary; ‘to strengthen the alliance so as to defeat CCM,’ he explained.
“The current situation in the country must change,” he said.
“Now, our people are living in poor and deplorable conditions…we are determined to address these challenges facing our people,” he reassured the public.
Closing the meeting, newly endorsed Chadema Presidential Candidate former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa congratulated all the opposition parties for being strong and promised them he would not let them down.
“Failure is not among my vocabularies and I never fail,” he said to the cheer of the crowd.
“We will win all election constituencies to ensure we harvest a number of MPs and ward councilors that can balance out the national assembly,” he said .
“The opposition coalition Ukawa is big and influential and can win this election…what is important here is to organise ourselves with one aim, removing CCM from power and its possible,” he told opposition supporters.
He summed up with a pledge to conduct his campaign without insults and provocations and challenged the ruling CCM not to steal votes but run a fair election.